Empowering Holiday Joy Using Lists


Lists empower holiday joy


During the holiday season, the foundation of good project management is list making. Using lists helps you prepare and prioritize for each step of the holidays.  Check out these ADHD-friendly ways to use lists effectively during the holiday season.

The Power of Lists

Lists are a powerful tool for individuals with ADHD because these help to lift cognitive load, assist with processing and prioritizing of tasks, and bring order and serenity. Lists give structure to success because you can conquer everything in manageable chunks.  Having a place to hold all the ideas rather than in your head helps you enjoy the season.


Lists empower time management

Having a list will not guarantee success during the holidays. Prioritize first what will be most important since some tasks might be aspirational rather than practical.  Use your list as a guide to how for how you conquer both big and small parts of the holiday season. Write down how much time generally you want to allocate to each task. A suggestion might be by week so to keep on the same project throughout a week’s duration. Combine your lists with your calendar and assign specific dates to specific tasks on your list. You might spend an afternoon looking up recipes and writing a shopping list, then another afternoon baking holiday treats.

Lists reduce overwhelm

The holiday season overwhelms us with the amount of tasks added to your already filled days. Using your lists, you can create daily action lists with 3 Most Important Tasks. Your list can also include the one next step, rather than the entire project. Decide what is the best way for you to chunk your list whether it is by day, task, place of the task, or whatever categories work for you.


Here are lists of lists that can help you manage your holiday season.

    • Holiday binder: a comprehensive lists of schedules, information and all the lists for the holidays
    • Gifting list: all the items you are purchasing, where these are ordered from, and receipts
    • Grocery list: all the items you are serving and making for holiday gifts, including recipes
    • Family calendar: list of all the activities for the holiday season
    • Helpers list: a list of all those you can enlist for delivery services, extra help at home, cleaning, and baby and dog sitting
    • Digital wallet: all the tickets for the performances


The joy of lists

Make your lists fun by customizing what works for you. Digital lists can include a project management tool like Trello or Notes app. Paper lists are best written with jolly gel pens and markers. If you love stickers, purchase a pack of holiday stickers to remind you of tasks. A weekly planning time also ensures you stick to your list, rather than adding more and more tasks. During that time update your list with what has been accomplished to see and feel your success.


The holiday season will be a time of joy and connection, not stress and overwhelm by using lists effectively. Keep your lists visual and easy to see while using them. Avoid the temptation to stop using the lists, even if they are lengthy.  Use your list as a way to keep true to your holiday planning.  By harnessing the power of lists, using your customized approach to writing tasks, and building effective time management with chunking, individuals with ADHD can navigate the holiday preparations with greater ease and effectiveness.

4 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    Wow, I couldn’t agree more. I love lists. Just last night I was making some food shopping lists for Thanksgiving. I had to break the list into two pieces: what I can buy now, and what I have to wait and buy next week.

    Without lists, my brain would be a big jumble. Well, it may still be a humble, but the lists helps me get the jumble out and organized LOL!

  2. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    There’s nothing quite as useful as a list. I know there are many ways to make them- digital, paper, and more. I use a combination of digital and paper. It’s impossible to keep all the information in my brain, so having a system I’m confident in helps me tremendously. As Seana said, my brain would be “a big jumble” without my lists.

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